It's that time of year again everyone! The Academy Award nominations have arrived and not without the usual grumbling from us movie fans. Following the usual recipe of a dash of snubbing, a heavy dose of predictability with just a pinch of spontaneity, the Oscar noms are always guaranteed to cause a stir. You can see the full list of nominations here.
Leading the way with 11 nominations is Martin Scorsese's Hugo while The Artist has received 10 nominations with more located in the bigger categories. Other nominees across the various awards include The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris.
First, let's take a look at the biggie, Best Picture. Last year, a new rule was introduced wherein ten films could be nominated for this award but this has changed again which means it could be any number. This year, we have nine Best Picture nominations but the big four have to be The Artist, The Descendants, Hugo and Moneyball seeing as they also placed in the Best Editing category. This may seem like an odd reason to pick these as the favourites but pretty much every Best Picture winner since around 1980 have all picked up a Best Editing nomination so you can almost guarantee it will be one of these four. My money's on The Artist.
In the Best Director category, we've got Woody Allen, Terence Malick and Martin Scorsese representing the usual big guns for Midnight in Paris, The Tree of Life and Hugo respectively. But it has to be Michel Hazanavicius with not only the best name but also the best chance having directed critic favourite The Artist. Rounding out the category is Alexander Payne for The Descendants.
Best Actress is the most predictable category; Meryl Streep of course gets a nomination for The Iron Lady alongside Rooney Mara for her role in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. The most notable absence in this category is Tilda Swinton for her chilling performance in We Need To Talk About Kevin. Best Actor is perhaps the least expected; Gary Oldman representing the Brits for Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy with Jean Dujardin (The Artist), Demián Bichir (A Better Life), George Clooney (The Descendants) and Brad Pitt (Moneyball) completing the list.
Best Supporting Actress could be a battle between two co-stars with Octavia Spencer and Jessica Chastain both nominated for The Help but they face stiff competition from Bérénice Bejo (The Artist), Janet McTeer (Albert Nobbs) and there's even a nod for Bridesmaids' Melissa McCarthy, though let's hope she doesn't fall prey to the Oscar comedy curse. Best Supporting Actor has to be the most random collection of actors ever assembled with Jonah Hill (Moneyball), Kenneth Branagh (My Week With Marilyn), Max von Sydow (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close), Nick Nolte (Warrior) and Christopher Plummer (Beginners) forming the nominations.
The big upset in the major categories has to be the absence of Nicholas Winding Refn's Drive which picked up one nomination for Sound Editing. Many believed Refn and star Ryan Gosling to be shoe-ins for nominations. The same could be said of Steve McQueen and Michael Fassbender for their picture Shame. Both films were critic and fan favourites, but it appears that the Academy aren't quite brave enough to celebrate a film that comes with a heavy dose of violence or sex addiction. They don't seem to mind films about giant robots though as Transformers: Dark of the Moon picked up three nominations, thankfully only in the technical categories.
The Academy Awards have always been fairly predictable and it seems that the 84th won't be an exception to the rule. The last big upset was probably Crash winning Best Picture in 2006 so maybe we can all be hopeful and expect another one? Not too hopeful though…
We'll find out when LA's Kodak Theatre hosts the big event on February 26th. Check back for some insightful commentary on the eventual winners, the hosting skills of Billy Crystal and the usual analysis of the horror frocks that people will inevitably choose!